In France a new law has been proposed introducing a registered partnership, the Pact of Civil Solidarity or PACS. The bill completed the first stage of the legislative process in 1998. It includes the following main provisions: [Beneficiaries]: Any two adults, neither of whom are already bound by a PACS or marriage, nor relatives nor incapable of managing their own affairs. [Duties]: The partners bound by a PACS must provide each other with mutual and material aid, and are jointly liable for any debts contracted by either of them to meet the needs of their everyday life together or for the accommodation they share. [Termination]: A PACS is terminated by the death, marriage or at the request of one partner. In the last case, it takes effect three months after notification, and a Court can award damages where the request is abusive. [Social benefits]: Either partner can be regarded as dependent on the other by analogy with the existing provisions on social security for married couples; eg the survivor is entitled to a death grant. The partners are entitled to take statutory holidays at the same time, and if employed in the public service to be posted to jobs in close proximity. [Foreigners]: in determining whether to grant a residence permit, the French authorities will take being bound by a PACS signed with a French citizen into account as evidence of a "personal link". [Taxation]: the persons linked by a PACS can submit a joint tax return from the third year onwards. But the "wealth tax" is applicable to their total wealth immediately. [Accommodation]: In the event of death or departure of one of partners bound by a PACS who are living in leased accommodation, the survivor or other partner is entitled to remain there under that lease. [Inheritance]: the surviving partner is entitled to receive a bequest of up to 375 thousand francs from his late partner's estate before tax; tax is payable at 40% on the next 100 thousand francs and at 50% thereafter, with immediate effect from their becoming bound by a PACS. [Concubinage]: It is recognized in the Civil Code as "a de facto partnership, in which two persons of either the same or different sexes live together in a stable and long-lasting relationship".
There are some classes of couples for whom marriage is not available and yet "a relationship" is not appropriate, or not enough. For example: brother and sister living together; a homosexual couple; a divorced couple who have reconciled; perhaps even a Catholic priest and his housekeeper. These are clearly not married couples but they have made a pact to partner each other and they deserve some kind of legal recognition that will facilitate social interaction and avoid certain problems, such as pension payments and family feuds.
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